Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Aha Moment

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Photo Credit:

For the past 2 years, I've immersed myself in social media. During which, I've had the opportunity to exchange ideas, resources, network, and even collaborate on a few projects. With one group in particular (K-12 educators), I've developed a close bond with these unappreciated heroes. But, something has been brewing and I've finally accepted it.

As much as I know teaching and learning and/or how to work with young people, I am not a K-12 educator. I had a great run with GEAR UP. But, my time working with young people is over. To acknowledge this scares me because I don't want to loose the community I'm so fond of. However, I can't ignore the signs and the feeling in my gut.

I am invigorated and renewed by digital and social media. I marvel at how each has the power to produce images, conversations, connections, and collaborations that can change the world. The issues or topics I am most passionate about revolve around life and career developments. Whether it is personal branding, which college major to choose, listening to one's inner voice, or how to have a sexually fulfilling life, I am drawn to those topics related to individuals living their best lives. And, it's time I get to the business of living my own.

This is a new and exciting next chapter in my life. I've already connected with Diana Antholis - author, blogger, and career and work/life consultant at Performance Advantage,inc, and many, many other thought-leaders and experts across several fields and disciplines. I am also in the process of building a different community - which I hope to be able to develop the same kind of bond I have with K-12 educators.

I'll let you know how everything goes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Web-Based Education and the Obsolete Four-Year Degree

By Lindsey Wright

The traditional structure of a four-year degree program is one with which all college-bound students are familiar. Yet with the growing reliance on technology in today’s society, such a rigid program may no longer be necessary. Completing part or all of a college degree online is now a viable option as more and more schools embrace the innovations of Web-based education.

The Future of the Four-Year Degree

The idea that a degree program must be completed in four years is slowly becoming obsolete. As the prices of gasoline, food and other basic commodities rise, more people are finding it necessary to work in order to sustain themselves through college. If you’re in such a situation, you may discover that you need more than four years to tackle the courses necessary for your degree.

On the other hand, some students work at a faster pace than that set by their professors. People with a true passion for their major may wish to move more quickly and finish their degree ahead of time. Likewise, some high school students may want to consider taking additional classes at an online school so they can complete prerequisite courses while they are still in their junior and senior years of high school. This allows gifted young people more leeway in their studies when they officially begin college.

Web-based courses may also help solve another problem that all students face when heading into a four-year degree program. As Will's recent post “The Outdated Academy” mentions, most traditional college degrees include a number of liberal arts classes and other non-major courses as part of the requirements for completion. In many cases these classes take up a great deal of time, money, and energy that could be better devoted to coursework that actually applies to a student’s major.

By utilizing online classes, both students and the colleges they attend can turn the traditional four-year degree into something more focused and streamlined. If colleges turned to internet-based classes to fulfill the current requirements for general subjects, the whole landscape of degree programs could change. Students could use their time on campus to focus solely on classes that are relevant to their majors while fulfilling general requirements online. This would allow for a more targeted approach to studying that immerses students in their major right from the start.

Making Online Courses Work for You

Undoubtedly, the advent of web-based education enables the process of obtaining a degree to become more streamlined than in years past. Even better, there are many options when learning online. In addition to combining online courses with traditional ones, students may also be able to opt to pursue a degree entirely online in order to better fit their daily schedules. This is especially helpful for people returning to college later in life who may have to juggle school with a family and a full-time job.

Whatever course of action students take, web-based learning can help them achieve their academic goals on their terms. Students truly committed to a four-year degree can use the flexibility of online learning to fit the experience to their needs and interests. Rather than spending the majority of their time on campus stuck in general education classes, students should investigate whether they can get the basics out of the way online. This gives them a way to finish liberal arts requirements outside of their daily college schedules, freeing up time for courses that are truly of interest and that will help them move more quickly towards the completion of their majors.

Web-based college courses are changing the way that college students of all ages approach their degrees. Although it may be awhile before some traditional institutions embrace the idea of a flexible, web-enhanced degree program, the landscape of college education will no doubt continue to change as technologically-based approaches to learning grow and evolve. Whether your schedule requires you to take a little extra time to finish a four-year degree or you’re itching to finish coursework in less time, online education can offer the necessary tools.

Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly the online school, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview with J's Everyday Fashion

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

I first "met" J. via a webinar by J. T. O'Donnell on J. is awesome at making great looks accessible to those without big budgets and fashion stylists. She is the "Stacy London" of generation Y. But, instead of telling people what not to wear, J. shows people how to put together affordable looks inspired by the big label ones. Meet J's Everyday Fashion.

Will: Everyone has that aha moment. That flash of inspiration and clarity about what they want to do in life. What was your aha moment? What is J's Everyday Fashion? Where did the moniker the “Rachel Ray of fashion" come from?

J: My aha moment came a few months after starting my blog. It was originally a hobby, but then the style questions started rolling in and I realized that there is no one out there to help these women with their questions! That’s when I got the idea of being the “Rachael Ray of fashion” – she is so relatable, down-to-earth and makes cooking seem easy. I am seeking to do the exact same thing with fashion! I want to break it down for people, show them that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive and inspire them to give it a try.

Will: For those who don’t know, you take pictures of yourself in the outfits you coordinated based on high-end looks. What got you modeling those looks?

J: My blog is meant to be a how-to blog that helps women with their fashion questions and inspires them. I think the best way of doing that is to lead by example, so I show different outfits from my closet as a way to illustrate different fashion “lessons” each day. The idea to use inspiration photos came into play because I was looking for ways to come up with new outfits, and thought it would be fun to show where I was getting my ideas from.

Will: What do you love most about your job?

J: Feeling like I was born to do this. J’s Everyday Fashion is my absolute passion and I wake up everyday excited to work! I hope everyone gets the chance to feel that way at some point in their life!

Will: What are the 3 fashion must-haves that every woman should own?

J: I get asked this question all the time, but I really think that “basics” means something different for every woman depending on her occupation, climate and personal style. One thing every woman should own though – a great pair of jeans that makes them feel really good about their body.

Will: From doing the work you do, what have you learned about style that you didn’t know before?

J: I have learned so much! I have learned that it’s possible to anyone to be creative if you just give yourself some space and time to do it. I’ve learned that it’s fun think outside the box and go for the unexpected. I have learned that style is definitely something you can learn, and that you don’t have to be born with it.

Will: What is your favorite outfit? Describe your personal style?

J: I like to dabble in all styles and I love trying new trends, but my staples are usually preppy and girlie. And I love color. Mixing colors in an outfit reminds me of mixing paint for art class and it immediately brightens my mood!

Will: You have your website and a new online TV show coming. How do you see your career evolving in the near future?

J: My dream is to do anything and everything that helps women with their style questions –take my show national, write a how-to book, have a column in a magazine and continue to blog.

Will: How are you using social media to build your brand?

J: In some ways, my brand is social media. I made the decision early on to use Facebook as my main blogging platform – which is something I don’t think many other bloggers are doing. I love that it makes blogging more of a two-way street, and the ease of sharing things on Facebook definitely helps with getting the word out! I also use Twitter to network with other bloggers and companies, and talk to my fans.

Will: Thanks for taking out of your schedule for this interview. Do you have any final thoughts?

J: Thanks for having me! Please check out the pilot episode of my show and visit my blog to join in the fun!

J's Everyday Fashion shows women how to bridge the gap between fantasy fashion and clothes for real life! J. is on a mission to help woman everywhere with their fashion questions! J’s Everyday Fashion was started as a how-to blog to prove that fashion doesn't have to expensive, to inspire women everywhere to give fashion a chance, and to addresses the serious lack of practical style advice in America. Most people can’t afford a personal stylist, and fashion magazines and blogs are full of fantasy fashion that is too expensive and not obtainable for 99% of women. Where does a woman go who loves fashion, but has questions on how to put things together? Or the girl who only has $50 to spend on clothes, and can’t figure out how to make the most of what she has? Enter J’s Everyday Fashion. Check her out Facebook or on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For-profit Colleges and Universities

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

We've all seen the congressional hearings, read news articles, blog postings, etc about the dangers of for-profit schools. Hell, even PBS ran a special on them. According to everyone, for-profit schools are the devil and prey on the poor and people of color. But, I haven't seen the reports on why students choose for-profit schools over the traditional ones.

I had to go to a for-profit institution. I say this because I was trained as a family life educator, and I needed a master's degree program that would give me a solid foundation in the best practices of teaching and learning. Unfortunately, at traditional schools that meant getting a degree in Adult Education. However, until a few years ago, I worked with young people in after-school programs, and I needed a more flexible degree program, a program in which I could focus my coursework on my individual professional needs. And, I found such a program at Capella University.

It's Professional Studies in Education master's program "is designed for educators working in a variety of educational, business, and community settings" (, 2011). Not only was I able to build a knowledge-base in educational philosophy, classroom assessment, and numerous educational theories, I was able to take other courses and further develop the skills most relevant to me as a family life educator. In addition, I was able to lay the groundwork for the next phase of my career.

There are different kinds of for-profit institutions. Some are career colleges that prepare students to enter the workforce as massage therapists or medical coders. While others have academic missions similar to those of traditional 4 year colleges and universities. Each for-profit school is different. Just like each traditional school is different. Some do a great job at educating its students and some suck. The same can be said about traditional schools as well.

It's important that each person who considers attending a for-profit institution do their homework like they would with a state school. Conduct the same kind of research they would when looking at a traditional school. It may turn out that a career or technical degree is the best fit for their career aspirations. Or maybe going to school online better fits their lifestyle. Either way, they must do their due diligence.

I couldn't be happier with my experience at Capella. What I learned there has been invaluable to my growth and practice as a family life educator. Capella may have been my only option in the beginning, but in the end it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview with Reel Grrls

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Some people don't know this about me, but I went to film school. Yes, I have a bachelor's degree in Film Production. And, before I got into education, I had dreams of winning an Oscar for Best Director.

Movies and television are passions of mine. Over the years, I've wondered if I'll ever be able to combine my love for film with my love for education. Then, I came across Reel Grrls on Twitter. The work they're doing is amazing, and I had to interview them to find out how they were combining education and multimedia production. I haven't seen anything like them. Lights, camera, action, meet the Reel Grrls.

Will: What is Reel Grrls? What is your mission? Why do you believe it’s so important to teach young women how to be in charge of producing media content?

Lila: Reel Grrls is a unique non-profit after-school program that teaches media literacy and filmmaking to grrls ages 9-19. Our mission is to empower young women from diverse communities to realize their power, talent and influence through media production. There’s a couple of big reasons why it’s important for young women to have access to producing media content: First of all, women are terribly underrepresented in the media industry (they make up just 3% of cinematographers in Hollywood, and only 3 women have ever been nominated for Best Director Oscars). Secondly, young women are heavily targeted by the media industry, especially advertisers, and the images of women in mainstream media are overwhelmingly negative. For these reasons, we believe it is essential for young women to learn to interpret the media messages they consume and talk back by creating their own media.

Will: Digital video has changed dramatically since I went to film school. Cameras are a lot cheaper and there are a host of editing programs available. Even the access to other forms of digital media production has reached the masses. What sorts of programs or courses do your offer? What age-ranges do you work with?

Lila: We offer a very wide range of programming. Some of our courses last a week or a weekend, others meet every week after school for several months. We want to give young women different entry points for getting into media; for some it’s just a way to be creative or something fun to try out over spring break, for others it’s a career track or a pathway to confidence and self-esteem. We teach courses in general video production as well as specific skillsets like animation, scriptwriting and working with clients. Until recently we were a teen-serving organization, but in the last two years we’ve started offering classes for the 9-12 set, by popular request. In terms of technology, it’s important to us that we offer skills training in high-end hardware and software so that our students can actually go on to work in the film industry and know what they’re doing. To that end, we use prosumer cameras and teach editing on Final Cut Pro. Even 9-year-olds catch on incredibly quickly!

Will: Who is the average Reel Grrl? What is she like? What's the significance with this age group?

Lila: One thing that’s really cool about our organization is that there is no “average Reel Grrl.” About 65% of our participants receive scholarships (no one is turned away due to lack of funds), but an average workshop/program might have a girl who goes to private school or is homeschooled working alongside a girl who is in foster care or is in the probation system. It’s a great chance for our participants to step outside their comfort zones and hang out with people they might not otherwise meet.

In terms of the age range we serve, girls hit a huge dip in confidence around 12 or 13 years old. This is the age where they really need mentorship, guidance and the chance to succeed. Video is a great way to gain confidence and self-esteem by making your voice heard. And we think Reel Grrls is a great place for young women to gain a community that is centered on respect, and where it’s okay to ask questions and be yourself.

Will: What has surprised you the most from working with the young women?

Lila: Their ability to create powerful, brave work. And the transformational power of media on the lives of young people.

Will: What has the organization learned from the young women who’ve walked across its doors? And what have you learned personally?

Lila: We are constantly shifting our programming to meet the needs of the young women who walk through our doors. We’re always learning more about what skills are most useful to our participants and we ask for feedback from them frequently, particularly from the youth who stick around and serve on our Girls Advisory Board. Personally, I learn a great deal each time I teach a Reel Grrls class. Some of the best tech tips I’ve gotten (in dealing with editing software, cameras, lights, audio) have been from my students, and the best part is learning alongside them when a question comes up to which I don’t have the answer.

Will: What’s next for Reel Grrls? How has your organization evolved since its founding?

Lila: This year we’re turning 10 years old as an organization, which is amazing! We’ve changed a lot in that time. We became our own non-profit in 2004 and hired our first staff member besides our Executive Director the following year. We’re now in our own programming space (as opposed to having to rent spaces in the past), which has changed the capacity of what we can offer. We’re now serving almost 200 girls a year, where we used to serve about 50. What is most important for us in the immediate future is to grow mindfully, all the while keeping the needs of our participants and the fulfillment of our mission at the forefront of everything we do.

Will: What do you do with all of the content created at Reel Grrls? Do you host film festivals? Where can the public see the work being done?

Lila: We host almost all of our content online: Our main channels are Youtube and Vimeo(this last one houses only the short films created in our week-long or weekend camps). We also have a TeacherTube channel so our films can be watched in classrooms where other video sharing sites may be blocked. We don’t host film festivals of our own, but we submit our students work to many different festivals. RG films play in dozens of film fests a year throughout the country and world, and they have won numerous awards over the years.

Will: How are you using social media? What platforms or sites can Reel Grrls be seen?

Lila: We use our social media sites to form and sustain connections with like-minded people and organizations, and to voice our values as an organization to the world. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Myspace.

Will: I think what you are doing is awesome. Is Seattle your only location? If so, do you have any plans of branching out? I know my state of Mississippi would be a great place.

Lila: Thanks! Currently, Seattle is our only location, although we do sometimes partner with programs or schools outside of the city so that we can reach underserved rural populations. We would love to expand to other cities but are not in a hurry to do so. At the moment we just want to focus on serving our community the best way we can.

Will: Thank you so much for granting the interview. Any final thoughts?

Lila: Thank you! We really appreciate your support.

Check out the great work the Reel Grrls are doing:

Lila Kitaeff is an award-winning filmmaker and video editor. She has been with Reel Grrls since 2003 working as a mentor and instructor, and currently serves as Technical Director for the organization. She has worked with independent media centers throughout the US and Mexico, and can also be heard on the radio playing funk music on Friday nights.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

E-learning, r-E-al learning?


As always when I write a post I write from my own experience and understanding. E-learning is many things to many people! I myself would differentiate between e-learning and online learning although I often see them used interchangeably. My perception is that e-learning is characterised by being e-mediated in some way and would include for example using resources and activities via a CD/DVD with no wider connection through the Internet. Online learning is a subset of e-learning and is characterised by using the Internet in some way. Both e-learning and online learning may occur in, either or both of, an asynchronous or synchronous environment. My own perception of:
  • the characteristics that define or describe “GOOD” e-learning¨
  • and also of the effectiveness of e-learning strategies
is influenced by my own experience of it as a learner and as a teacher. The Wordle below includes just some of the words that characterise good e-learning for me. Yes! I know it contains opposites – it can be used in so many ways to meet the needs of different learners that this is inevitable. Where am I coming from?

The context in which I teach, and thus use e-learning strategies, is a little different from that of most other teachers:
  • I am an adult literacy/numeracy lecturer working in the public vocational education and training sector
  • I live and work in a rural aream the Wheatbelt of Western Australia
  • My classroom is 115,000 square kilometres of sparsely populated country with a scattering of small towns and even smaller communities
  • Vocational education here in Australia is competency based so on the whole we don’t have formal tests with grades, instead we look for “evidence of competency”. This often involves collecting product and process evidence and combining these with observation and questioning to show that a learner has met performance criteria and demonstrated required skills and knowledge
  • My student group is highly diverse including Youth at Risk (as young as 13), mature aged adults, culturally and linguistically diverse students (Indigenous and migrants), many are unwilling to study but enrol to get welfare benefits
  • We have continuous enrolments and flexible learning so it is very rare for two students to be at the same stage of the course at the same time.
Going online was a logical step to increase the accessibility of our adult literacy/numeracy courses for our geographically distributed and highly diverse potential learners. It was a huge undertaking and we still don’t really have enough units online. However I have now been teaching fully online for some time and previously I was using a variety of e-tools with face-to-face students to increase engagement and enable more diverse ways for my students to evidence their competence. So I have many thoughts on what works and what doesn’t work for me and my students. I am also continually “tweaking” and changing both to deal with issues that arise and to try and make it all work better! The first half of the slide presentation “Who needs bricks & mortar” - my Keynote from last year’s Reform Symposium takes a look at some of the barriers encountered and solutions tried in initially putting my course entirely online. In the second half of the presentation I took a flight of imagination into the future of online/e-learning in a school context.

What makes "good" e-learning?

There is much discussion and debate about the choice of tools we use to support learning whether they are “tech/e-tools” or more prosaic ones such as a choice between lined and unlined paper. It isn’t uncommon to see people “put the cart before the horse” when considering e-tools ie they find a great tool and then make what they want to achieve fit the tool. They would never do this with the paper – on the whole if you want a child to draw you give them unlined paper, if you want them to write you give them lined paper. As in a “non-e” context the tool should support what we are trying to achieve rather than be used for its own sake.

Most of my involvement in e-learning has been in an online environment (both synchronous and asynchronous) and I feel that e-learning without an online component can be very static and one dimensional. Adding an online dimension makes e-learning much more dynamic and exciting. The lack of an online facet is less significant in a physical classroom situation where there are other students having diverse ideas and opinions with whom to interact and collaborate thus providing that extra dimension. What is “good” e-learning? I would suggest that “good” e-learning (online or otherwise) is not much different from “good” learning mediated in any other way. The technology we use is another “tool” in the toolbox. Effective learning happens when students are motivated and engaged. Online e-learning can provide:
  • greater potential for motivation and engagement by giving students opportunities to use e-tools to generate evidence that they are competent ie that they have achieved outcomes;
  • opportunities to reach a wider audience through Internet publishing and global collaboration;
  • amazing access to very up to date information, experts/enthusiasts in any field and peers in other parts of the world.
In my opinion if we are going to create good e-learning it is more important than ever before that we adopt an approach where students have to “do something” with information in a specific context rather than just regurgitate it! It is all too easy now for students to find the answers to any question and copy/paste without understanding. Adopting a constructivist approach allows learners to show their understanding through the use they make of information in solving problems and in their analysis and evaluation both of the information they gather and their own products. This is true even at the level where we are using a stepwise structured approach to scaffold learning for learners who have not yet developed independent learning, thinking and problem solving skills.


Our challenge as educators using e-learning tools and strategies is to design learning and assessment activities that utilise problem solving and critical thinking skills applied in a given context. This is not a simplistic task! Yes – the wide range of e-tools gives us a huge range of choice but this can lead to confusion and indecision. We always have to start with the learner and what they need to know and understand ie the aims and objectives of the learning!

Jo Hart is the author of the “E-verything” blog and is on Twitter as @JoHart tweeting constantly! She also facilitates regular weekly webinars in the Edublogs/Elluminate community partnership virtual room. Jo is a lecturer in General Education for Adults (Literacy and Numeracy) at CY O’Connor Institute. This is a regional college in the Australian public Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector based in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. Currently, Jo delivers entirely online with a blend of virtual classroom, Learning Management System and a range of other e-tools. Jo has also gained funding for and facilitated a variety of projects in e-learning and delivers professional development to colleagues.

The Outdated Academy

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Why does the 4 year bachelor's degree still exist? Most are filled with an unneeded, non-usable, uninteresting core. In fact, the majority of courses required to obtain a bachelor's degree have nothing to do with one's major. So, why not have a 3 year bachelor's degree?

I'm not advocating for doing away the core. What I'm saying is that the core is bloated and should not account for half and ,at some schools, 3/4's of one's degree. Not only is it ridiculous, it;s hella costly during this time of rising tuition and diminishing financial aid.

Here is my solution:

Colleges and universities should show some common sense and imagination when it comes to developing degree programs. A major should be at least 60 hours, allowing for students to gain a solid footing and foundation in the knowledge-base and skills necessary to be successful in their chosen field. The core should be no more than 30 hours, with only subject area requirements - not course requirements. Doing so would allow students to take classes they're genuinely interested in, passionate about, or courses that complement their major. For example, instead of a student being forced to take 12 hours of English Composition and Literature, students take writing-based or literature-based courses of their choosing, such as blogging and graphic novels.

The university of yesterday isn't what's needed today. Learning a foreign language is cool, but who remembers what they learned in Spanish 101 5 years later? Plato and Chaucer are interesting and can be intellectually stimulating, but who remembers what they learned in those classes 3 years later? I can't say that I did, and I don't know that many people who have either.

It's time for universities to embrace the fact that we live in a rapidly changing, technological and informational age. Degrees and course offerings should reflect that change. To keep students in school more than they should under the guise of broadening students intellectual curiosities and challenging their assumptions is as asinine as the core. That is why for-profit and community colleges are seeing an explosion in enrollment.

Tell me what you think.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Career Talk with Diana Antholis

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Diana Antholis is a Strategy Consultant for Performance Advantage Inc, a training and consulting firm dedicated to making people feel better about work and work smarter in the workplace. With an MA in Organizational Management, she focuses on researching organizational behavior and work/life management issues. Her career experience is in advertising and fashion marketing at top New York City and San Diego agencies. She is also the founder of Enter: Adulthood, a blog dedicated to young adults who are transitioning into the “real world.” You can connect with Diana on Twitter @dianaantholis or @worksmarta and LinkedIn.

Listen to internet radio with peoplegogy on Blog Talk Radio

For the readers of this blog, Diana has offered a discount code for her ebook: Conquer Your Career. It covers developing yourself, enhancing your image, getting hired, managing your future... Use the code "peoplegogy" and receive $10 off (so the ebook will be $15 instead of $25).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Highs and Lows of Doctoral Study

by Eva Lantsoght

After almost two years of doctoral study, I’ve gone through an array of emotions ranging from pure euphoria (“I want to do research for the rest of my life”) to complete despair (“I’m quitting this!”).

Before you decide to work towards a doctoral degree, you should know that it is perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions. I’ve listed some of the major highs and lows which you can and probably will come across during your studies.

The Lows:

1. Getting stuck

As the act of carrying out research implies that you will be pushing the borders of the knowledge within your field, you might eventually reach a point where you really get stuck. Lab results which don’t make sense, a computer model which won’t run…

Don’t get frustrated, but take a break from it and have a second look at it a few days later, or ask your supervisor for advice.

2. Slow progress

If research meant you could solve problems in a blink of the eye, you wouldn’t need 3 years or more for getting a doctoral degree. At times, your progress will be slow and research will seem tedious to you. That’s the point where you need to show the world some stamina and simply soldier through.

However, avoid getting absorbed too much. Don’t think that you can speed up the process by simply putting more hours a day into your research. Make sure you keep the journey bearable by scheduling some nice evening activities.

3. Living as a student

While you are in doctoral school, living on a student’s salary or a scholarship, your former classmates will have started their careers and will be in a better financial situation than you.

You can turn this situation into a challenge: what really matters to you and what can you take out of your life?

4. Criticism, or even worse: rejection

Regardless of your field, there will be discussion regarding your research. Some fellow researchers might have strong opinions, different from yours and criticize or reject your ideas openly.

Stay calm, and remember it is never personal. Without debate, science cannot exist. Learn how to argument and discuss your point of view.

The Highs:

1. Presenting at a conference

After working hard, writing a paper and preparing your presentation, you finally get to the point where you are sent out to present your work to fellow researchers. Suddenly you are part of the scientific community. Other researchers who interest in your work, you exchange ideas and connect to peers.

2. Constructive feedback from your advisor

Another person’s input can help you significantly in your progress. Your advisor might suggest you to look at your problem from a different perspective. Having a fruitful discussion will leave you with the feeling that you are indeed moving forward and that your research is taken seriously by your advisor.

3. Finishing a long piece of work

The end of months and months of experiments, a simulation which is finally running, a journal paper accepted for publication… These examples all are the result of many hours of work, and mark a milestone on your way towards your doctoral degree. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes!

4. Suddenly finding something new and exciting

At very rare occasions, you can suddenly get a brilliant idea. It might come while you are driving, biking, baking, in the shower or wherever you least expect it, but it will be your Eureka moment. And at that very moment you will completely love that you are doing research and can spend time on exploring your new idea.

Eva Lantsoght is a structural engineer currently pursuing a PhD at Delft University of Technology on the topic of shear in one-way reinforced concrete slabs. Originally from Lier, Belgium, she received an Engineering Degree from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a MS from Georgia Tech. At her blog PhD Talk, she blogs about her research, the process of doing a PhD, the non-scientific skills you need during your PhD, living abroad and her travels.